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The September 2011 murder of 70-year-old Linda Tyda of Illinois by her then-46-year-old daughter-in-law Misook Wang is a chilling reminder that family ties can bind -- and they can also kill.
The motive for the murder? Money, according to prosecutors. Linda had a valuable life insurance policy and Misook coveted her share, they claimed. What does Misook say about that insurance payout?
Find out on Saturday, September 25 at 8/7c, when Oxygen takes a deep dive back into the case in a two-hour episode of “Snapped: Behind Bars.” Wang, who also goes by Nowlin, shares her side of the story in Tyda’s slaying.
She also discusses the 1998 murder of her ex-boyfriend’s 3-year-old daughter, a case that gained renewed interest after Misook’s 2012 conviction. In advance of the gripping episode, get up to speed with the following timeline.
Misook was born in 1965 in South Korea. Her mother died when she was a toddler, and because her father was unable to care for her, she was sent to live with relatives.
In 1987, Misook met American G.I. Andy Nowlin, who was serving in Korea. A year later, he returned to the U.S. with Misook. They married and had a daughter, Michelle.
The couple divorced in 1998, following disputes about finances and infidelity. “She was just so money hungry,” Nowlin said in a Season 20 episode of “Snapped” that aired June 18, 2017.
Misook then married Don Wang, the son of Chinese immigrants, whom she met at a call center. Don’s mother, Linda, an Asian immigrant who was divorced from Don’s dad, seemed to embrace Misook into the family.
Linda was a prominent member of the community through her work as an interpreter and advocate for new Asian immigrants. She financed Misook’s sewing and alteration business, according to "Snapped."
Misook and Don Wang had a son. They raised their family in Bloomington, Illinois.
In January, Linda married Larry Tyda, whom she’d met in 2010 through Match.com, he said in the Season 20 episode of “Snapped.”
Linda left home in Crest Hill for a predawn meeting with a new client she was picking up in Bloomington and driving to a Chinese school in Chicago, the Chicago Tribune reported.
Linda never returned and Larry called police at 8 p.m. to report his wife was missing. Linda’s last cell phone ping was from a tower in Bloomington, investigators determined.
Detectives learned that an employee at a local Chinese restaurant had been solicited on September 4 to pose as a client and arrange a meeting with Linda in a Bloomington grocery store parking lot, according to the Chicago Tribune.
Restaurant surveillance footage showed Misook was in the restaurant when the worker was paid to pretend to be a client. Security tapes from the grocery store also revealed that Misook and Linda had met and argued before driving away separately, according to “Snapped.”
Police brought Misook in for questioning and told her that they’d found Linda’s clothes and cut up ID cards in a dumpster behind Misook’s sewing shop. Misook told officials that she had appealed to Linda to meet with her to help her mend her failing marriage to Don.
Linda followed Misook to the shop and attacked her in the parking lot, claimed Misook, who said she choked Linda “for five to 10 minutes,” according to the Chicago Tribune. She then told officials that she dragged her mother-in-law’s body inside the shop and hid it.
Misook took police to the Des Plaines Fish and Wildlife Area, a nature preserve where she had buried Linda in a shallow grave a week earlier.
Misook was arrested for murder.
December 10, 2012
Misook’s trial began in McLean County Courthouse. Prosecutors emphasized money as a motive for murder: Linda had a life insurance policy and Misook believed she was entitled to half of it, according to “Snapped.” Misook had written about the policy in jailhouse letters.
Misook testified on her own behalf. She claimed Linda died in a fight that went wrong and that she feared losing custody of her son so she hid the body.
Misook was found guilty of first-degree murder.
March 1, 2013
Misook was sentenced to 55 years in prison: 50 years for murder and five years for concealing the body. She is doing time at the Logan County Correctional Center.
She has since appealed the verdict.
The media attention from Misook’s conviction brought renewed interest in the murder conviction of her former boyfriend, Barton McNeil, 61. He is serving 100 years for the June 1998 death of his 3-year-old daughter, Christina.
Lawyers from the Illinois Innocence Project representing McNeil claim that they have DNA evidence that implicates his ex-girlfriend, Misook.
“Although police did investigate Nowlin and discovered she and McNeil ended their relationship the day before Christina was killed, she was never considered a serious suspect,” the Rock River Times reported.
McLean County’s chief prosecutor says his office is reviewing the McNeil murder case, according to WEEK-TV 25.
The petition stated, “The DNA evidence confirming Misook’s presence in Christina's death bed is sufficient to entitle McNeil to a new trial.” It also describes the deaths of Linda Tyda and Christina McNeil as “hauntingly similar.”
To learn what Wang said about killing her mother-in-law as well as the death of Christina McNeil, watch “Snapped: Behind Bars,” airing Saturday, September 25 at 8/7c on Oxygen.
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